Aristote, l'âme et la cire. Sur la portée de la formule commune d' (De Anima II 12)

Translated title of the contribution: Aristotle, wax, and soul: On the scope of the common account of

Jorge Mittelmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper focuses on the "disappointing" nature of the last few sentences of De Anima II 12, where it is Aristotle's intention to specify what smell is apart from the immaterial reception of a scent by the nose. It has been argued that the concluding remarks of the chapter scarcely advance our understanding of sensible knowledge, in so far as they restrict themselves to repeating what is already known: that smelling is "something else" in addition to the immaterial reception of a scent. In order to save Aristotle from triviality, this paper explores the main issues surrounding the thesis of the "reception of sensible forms without matter" (424a18), considering in particular the literal alteration of sense-organs that is supposed to underlie every single episode of perceptive awareness. The paper reaches a somewhat paradoxical conclusion: concentration on literalist physiology tends to reinforce "spiritualism", which keeps coming back in the guise of an appeal to basic sensitive powers (99b35) which inanimate bodies lack.

Translated title of the contributionAristotle, wax, and soul: On the scope of the common account of
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalRivista di Storia della Filosofia
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © FrancoAngeli.


  • Actuality
  • Aristotle
  • Senses
  • Soul
  • World


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